Pushing aside disappointment
(July 28, 2009)
In the pictures I’d seen in the eBay ad, the cylinder head and all the side-covers were attached to the motor. When the rusty Triumph from Kentucky arrived, the the primary cover (clutch side cover) and the cylinder head were off the motor. They were included in the shipment, but they were no longer attached.
Having the cylinder head off the motor allowed a view into the piston bores and the view was horrifying! One piston hole looked normal (old-left-sitting-a-long-time-normal) but the other side was filled with about a full half inch of rust-powder. Looking at the corresponding combustion chamber of the cylinder head was even scarier! It was covered in a thick coating of crumbly alloy-rust-corrosion, the likes of which I’d never seen. An attempt to clean away the alloy-rust-corrosion with a wire brush removed a great deal of material from the cylinder head – rendering it trash. Sad, sad, sad.
Pushing aside the disappointment of the certainty of having to replace the head, I devoted myself to freeing the frozen motor (or at least what was left of it).
The processes I have employed have come to me through my previous experience working on cars, the auto-shop class I took in high school and through the fine members of a vintage Triumph motorcycle forum. There are many opinions how to proceed freeing a frozen motor – which solvents to use (glacial acetic acid, WD-40, PB-Blaster, diesel) and where to apply the solvents and how long to leave them on.
The first thing I tried in order to free the pistons was to raise the cylinder block from the engine cases. This was done using the nut-jack method – which is to loosen the nuts holding the cylinder block and place a nut or other spacer on top of the loose nut and continue loosing the nut so the spacer or nut on top pushes against the cooling fins of the block and forces it up, away from the cases. This worked! I was able to raise the block about half inch from the cases. This allowed me to test if the crankshaft was frozen to the lower part of the engine – it was not! I could rotate the crankshaft with a large wrench and the block would ride up and down on the frozen pistons – this was good news to me : -)
I scraped away as much rust from the cylinders and pistons as I could and sprayed WD-40 into the bores until they were full. I came back in 10 minutes to see if any had drained down into the motor and it had not. I came back in the morning and it was all still there! I drained it off and took two large washers and placed them on the tops of the pistons. I then put a length of pipe on top of the washers and smacked it smartly with a 5 pound hammer. No movement. other piston. No movement. Again. Again. ‘Man’ I thought ‘This is going to be tough!’
I wrote to my friends on the forum and they wrote back saying ‘You soaked them overnight! Hahahaha… I soaked mine for a week – bashed on them – soaked them for another week. Same. For me, it took a whole month!’
OK. ‘Man’ I thought ‘This is going to be really tough!’
I made a rig to force-push the pistons down the cylinders and comenced to soak-submerge the whole motor in deisel fuel
(August 2, 2009)